Having trouble finding plant-based food substitutes? Grand Rapids has some great grocery stores that seem to be getting new products in every day to help us eat healthier and steer clear of animal-based products. We’ve put together this guide to help you find those great products in and around Grand Rapids.
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Grand Rapids
2470 Burton St SE
Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids newest grocery store, Fresh Thyme, opened up in the Spring of 2016. You can find quite a few vegan staples, and some not so common grocery items as well.
Located on the East Beltline at Knapp Street, this is D&W’s flagship store and so the items you find here are not always available at the other D&W stores. Being the flagship, this location tries out new items to see how well they go over, and so it’s important to support them because they are making an awesome effort. Many of these products have spilled over to the other locations (for instance, all locations now carry Bob’s Red Mill nutritional yeast) so if you shop at a different D&W, just call and ask before heading out if you’re not sure. Here’s what you’ll find:
- Daiya– They carry the Daiya wedges and shredded cheese.
- Non-dairy yogurt – They carry Silk and So Delicious brands, but none of the big plain tubs that we like to use for baking. Pro tip: We have started using the So Delicious Greek yogurt in place of heavy whipping cream and it works pretty well in all the recipes we’ve tried!
- Tofutti – They carry sour cream and ice cream sandwiches.
- Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast – A vegan staple. Try our Vegan Mac and Cheese recipe.
- Earth Balance – They offer the buttery sticks that we like to use for baking and Original tubs.
- Raw nuts – They carry nuts from Ferris Coffee & Nut Company, including some other brands. You can find raw cashews, sunflowers, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and more.
- Non-dairy milks – They have all the usual suspects, almond, soy, rice, hemp, and coconut. They also carry So Delicious coffee creamer in the fridge section.
- Light Life – Not everything is vegan so be sure to look. Jon loves the Smart Dogs and faux deli meats. The bacon is pretty good too!
- Follow Your Heart – Vegeneise (original only)
- Nasoya tofu – Our kitchen is worthless without it, especially on the weekend when we crave tofu scramble.
In the back of the store near the wine is an all dairy free case. In it you will find many of the items mentioned above, plus Teese, Melt brand butter, yogurt, cream cheese, yogurt and more! Definitely check it our when you are there.
A word of caution about D&W’s baked goods, every item out of their bakery contains dairy (in the form of lactic acid), so if you are looking for fresh baked bread, this is not the place to get it. We are hoping to work with them to have this changed in the future though.
D&W Fresh Market – Breton Village – The D&W market at Breton is BY FAR the best D&W location to find vegan groceries. You can find everything mentioned above, and then some! Right behind the produce section is a HUGE section of vegan and gluten free products. You can find everything all in one location so you don’t have to go pecking around the store like you have to in the other locations. They carry Field Roast, Tofurkey, Daiya (including the ever elusive Cheezy Mac, artisan cheese blocks, and cream cheese), Chao cheese slices, Follow Your Heart vegenaise (all flavors!) and dressings (Blue Cheese, Ranch, and Thousand Island).
If you are from Michigan, you should be familiar with Meijer, our largest grocery chain. They have made huge strides in the last few years to get more healthy products. They even have a couple lines that have helped us vegans out, including the Organics line. In 2009 they added a new line called Naturals which are free of artificial ingredients and additives. When we shop at Meijer, here are some of the staples on our list.
- Earth Balance butter – They carry the buttery spread tubs and sometimes the sticks.
- Gardein – We love the Chick ‘n Scallopini but all their products are delicious.
- Meijer Naturals Vegetable Stock – Just as good as the name brands, and way cheaper.
- Nasoya tofu – All of their tofu is organic. We like Extra Firm.
- Non-dairy milks – Meijer has their own line of rice, almond, and soy milks. The Meijer unsweetened almond milk is one of Jon’s favorites for cooking. But our favorite milk substitute is So Delicious Coconut which Meijer does carry in the shelf-stable section. They also carry Blue Diamond Almond milk and Silk brands.
- Raw nuts. Like D&W, Meijer carries some Ferris nut products – but they also have their own branded 1/2lb and 1lb bags of raw nuts. Good prices for good quality nuts like raw cashews.
- Faux meats – All locations are carrying a selection of Field Roast products, like sausages and hot dogs. They also carry Tofurkey deli slices and links, as well as the Light Life brand of deli slices and crumbles. Find these in the produce section next to the tofu!
- Just Mayo – You can find original and sriracha flavors on the condiments aisle.
- Dandies marshmallows – These vegan marshmallows are made by Chicago Vegan Foods and are delicious.
Forest Hills Foods
Forest Hills Foods is located at 4668 Cascade Road. Forest Hills Foods was recently acquired by D&W and they have made no changes to it since taking over. We LOVE the Forest Hills model and find ourselves there quite a bit. Here’s what you can expect:
- Daiya – They carry the Daiya wedges and shredded cheese.
- Follow Your Heart – Vegenaise (including the soy-free variety), cheese blocks, cream cheese, and sour cream.
- Non dairy milks – All varieties can be found here, including So Delicious coffee creamer.
- Earth Balance – They have the soy-free tubs as well as the organic and regular one, and the highly sought after butter sticks that we like to use for baking.
- Non dairy yogurts – They carry Silk and So Delicious brands, but none of the big plain tubs that we like to use for baking. However, we often use the So Delicious Greek Cultured plain yogurt in recipes that call for yogurt and heavy whipping cream.
- Faux meats – They carry Tofurkey sausages and deli meats, Yves meatless pepperoni, and tons of Field Roast (deli slices, celebration roast, meat loaf, and sausages).
- Nasoya tofu – all types of Nasoya tofu is organic.
- Kind Crumbs – Baked goods from Kind Crumbs are all gluten-free. Some of the items are also vegan. We’ve found dairy and egg-free cookie and cupcakes. Find it in the bakery section in the back.
- Penn Street Bakery pizza crust – Locally made vegan and gluten-free pizza crusts. These are also soy and corn free.
- Rawfoodz dressings – Rawfoodz makes vegan, raw, and organic salad dressings. They are also nut-free, gluten-free and soy-free. Find them in the produce section next to the Tofurkey and Daiya.
Kingma’s Market – Kingma’s has been a longtime resident of the Creston Neighborhood. Having come under new ownership recently, a lot of changes are taking place. One of those changes is a mission to have more healthy and local items in the store. Check it out!
- The Brinery – The Brinery is an awesome business from Ann Arbor specializing in fermented foods. Kingma’s is carrying their sauerkraut and tempeh. The tempeh is something out of this world crazy delicious and it can be found in the frozen food section.
- Veggie burgers – You can find veggie burgers from Qrunch and the Redheads. These are both in the frozen food section.
- Daiya cheese – They carry the shreds.
- Earth Balance – You can find tubs and sticks of butter.
- El Cardenal – Kingma’s carries salsa and asparagus tamales made using local asparagus and made in Hart, MI. Can you believe it? A vegan tamale!
Trader Joe’s – Trader Joe’s is located just outside of Grand Rapids in Kentwood. Some of our favorite meatless products are the meatless meatballs and chickenless crispy tenders. They also have the best baked tofu in the produce section. You can find their vegan shopping guide here.
Martha’s Vineyard – Martha’s is a little neighborhood grocery store in Heritage Hill, best known for it’s extensive beer, wine, and liquor selection. Dive deeper though and you’ll find a handful of vegan groceries amidst their other gourmet grocery items (a lot happen to be accidentally vegan).
- Field Roast – Find a large selection of Field Roast faux meats and Chao Slices, a coconut cheese alternative.
- Sweet Earth – Martha’s carries Sweet Earth Natural Foods veggie burger.
- Follow Your Heart – Vegenaise
- Earth Balance – They carry the buttery sticks.
- Upton’s Naturals – We’ve heard they carry traditional seitan and chorizo.
- Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Yeast
- Produce – There is a cooler dedicate to a large variety of fresh fruits and veggies.
- Deli items – If you’re looking to grab something quick, look in the deli. On rotation is a Quinoa salad and Chick Pea Salad. They usually carry hummus, grape leaves, tabouli and sometimes even vegan sandwich wraps or lentil burgers.
- Chocolate – Look in the chocolate section for some gourmet vegan bars!
Apple Valley Natural Foods
Located at 60th and Kalamazoo, this health food store is full of vegan goodies! A huge bonus for us is that they are open on Sundays.
- Cedar Lake – These are canned faux meats. Some contain egg, so be on the look out for “Vegan” on the can.
- Worthington – More canned faux meats! Again, look for a “Vegan” label as not all are.
- Vegenaise – If you have never had it, get it! It’s the best stuff on the planet.
- Daiya – They carry the Daiya wedges and shredded cheese.
- Tofurkey – We like the deli slices and yes, at Thanksgiving, we’ve been known to eat the Tofurkey Feast.
Harvest Health has a lot of vegan items and you should definitely check it out, but to be honest, we think their prices are on the high end, meaning we rarely shop there (and less and less as other grocery stores start carrying more and more vegan groceries). We’ve caught criticism saying this with the argument that they aren’t buying things in big bulk shipments – so those costs are passed on to the consumer. For instance, Earth Balance butter will cost you nearly $2 more per tub than at Meijer. We want to support local, but it’s hard when the markup is so high. They are closed on Sundays which also makes it hard for us 8-5’ers to get over. That being said, they do have some items you can’t get anywhere else, so when we want to splurge on something fancy (Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss, anyone?) we have been known to drop some cash here.